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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

120                The Loom oj Language

already mentioned on p 105, we first have to add foui tenses, adding
twenty-four other forms which make up a "subjunctive" mood This is
reserved for special situations. The only vestige of such purely con-
ventional flexions in Anglo-American is the use of were instead of was
after z/, in such expressions as if I were, or the use of be, m be it so3 for
conventional situations of nthei obscure utility

Flexions of person, ten4 , and mood do not exhaust all the forms of a
Latin verb listed in die jionanes under what is called the infinitive
(with the ending -are^ -#<?, or -we). We shall come to the use of the
infinitive later (p 263) There is no distinctive infinitive form of the
English verb What giammanans call the infinitive of modern Euro-
pean languages is the dictionary iorm we use when we translate the
English verb after to (a book to lead) or after helper verbs other than
have or be (I shall read} Latin had several verb derivatives more or
less equivalent to our present and past participles (sec p. 277) Another
form of the Latin veib is the imperative, in expressions equivalent to
come here,, 01 give me that Its English equivalent is the same as the
dictionary form,

Voice flexion duplicates the flexions already mentioned. It has dis-
appeared m the modern descendants of Latin, and is absent in German
and English, It exists in the Scandinavian languages, as illustrated by
the following Danish expressions with their roundabout English

Active      vi kallcr (we call)                   vi kallcdc     (we called)

Passive;    vi kalles (we are calkd)           vi kallcdci (we were

The Scandinavian passive has come into existence during the last
thousand years, and we know its history. Its origin depends upon the
use of what are known as reflexive pronouns to signify that subject and
object are the same in sue U expressions as you are killing yourself. In
Anglo-American we do no. use the reflexive pronoun when the meaning
of the verb and its contex« indicate that the action is self-inflicted. We
can' say / have ju±t washed without adding myself Such expressions
often have a passive meaning, illustrated by the fact that / shot myself
implies that / am shot. The passive inflexion of modern Scandinavian
languages originated in this way during Viking times, or even before,
from the agglutination of the reflexive pronoun (sik or sig) with the
active feral of the verb. Old Norse finna *>ik (German "findm $ich"i
English "find themselves"} became fmnask^ which corresponds to the
modern Swedish finnas or Danish findes (are found). The Scandinavians